News and Events

Railings installed on Western Greensward, Felpham Promenade - correspondence

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Response to letter sent by Cllr English

Dear Councillor English

 

Further to my email to you of 26 September, please find below our responses (in italics) to your questions. This has been prepared in liaison with Paul Broggi, Property, Estates and Facilities Manager and Nat Slade, Group Head of Technical Services.

 

Can I please take this opportunity to request a short extension of time with respect to your request for all correspondence in this matter (1) and (10). This is currently being actioned but, as I am sure you can appreciate, has involved a voluminous amount of documents from a variety of different sources. I would hope to have this information to you by w.e. 18 October 2019 and would much appreciate your continued patience in this regard.

1.   I want to know on what date was the fence concept first conceived. What officers were present? All correspondence please.

I am afraid I cannot recall when this idea was first conceived and it would certainly not have been formally recorded. This was an operational matter and our response to the issue would have been discussed in the team ahead of arriving at a solution, for which I take responsibility as Manager. One thing I do categorically recall with absolute clarity is that the sole and prime purpose of the proposed fence installation located to the back of the sea wall was to afford this small area of grass better control against the considerable dog fouling issue that was indisputably present.

 The fence installation was carried out solely in reaction to the identified and excessive dog fouling issues in this location.

With your agreement, the results of searches for correspondence will be provided under separate cover   as noted above.

 

 2.   Who was the lead officer and when was it discussed with any senior officer or cabinet member or Councillor or resident. Name them at any time prior to installation?

The Lead Officer was myself Paul Broggi, Property, Estates and Facilities Manager. This installation was not discussed with CMT or any Member ahead of installation as this was an operational matter and so was ordered and authorised under delegated authority.

 3.   Please confirm that a full independent report has been carried out within the use of the area for wheelchair, disability and children laws for full and unfettered access, especially in regards to the highly sprung gates.

There is no formal requirement for a “full independent report” as referred above. The installation complies with BS8300-1:2018 which specifically deals with the design of an accessible and inclusive built environment.

4.   When was the fence put in and completed?

I do not hold formal record of the exact date but from enquiries within the team I believe the work was carried out circa 8 April 2019 and it would have taken circa 3 days to complete.

5.   Exactly how many prosecutions have taken place on this part of the green sward. Proof must be supplied to show over what period of time. What made this an area worse than any other in the whole of Arun? The main argument for the installation appears to be this quoted reason.

No prosecutions. The fence was erected in order to reduce the dog fouling which has been a particular long term issue at this location, despite the use of targeted enforcement patrols in this area. The erection of the fence is part of a package of measures to reduce dog fouling in this area including a publicity campaign.  

 The campaign we have been running over the summer in partnership with Southern Water and Spirit FM aims to try and educate all of us in the various ways we can support the cleanliness of our local beaches. This has included additional enforcement and education patrols along the seafront from Middleton to Aldwick including the Greensward area. Dog fouling offences are notoriously difficult to witness to obtain the necessary evidence.

 6.   What was the total cost of the fence including officer time and labour.

The total fencing material cost was £8617.97 .The works were completed using in-house labour and we would have encountered some minor material incidental cost also. I do not possess any record of the labour or minor materials incidental costs for this installation.  

7.   Where were the finances obtained from and what written authority was given for the spend to take place and by whom?

The works were funded via the capital asset management budget and these were ordered and expended by Property & Estates in accordance with delegated authority for operational estate matters. As Property, Estates & Facilities Manager I am responsible for this decision.

 8.   Who decided for the date of the works to occur and was purdah taken into account. After all, much was made on what could not occur in the press.

Works orders were placed when the need arose as per normal practice. From a P & E position there was no discussion regarding Purdah as this was an operational matter and so this would not have been relevant. This work was delivered along with the great many other planned and reactive operational maintenance works that Property , Estates and Facilities deliver across the wider Council estate. Operational works would not cease as a result of Purdah.

9.   What was the reasoning for the officer not to discuss this with any elected councillors of Felpham in East and West Ward on conception of the project?

Who was his senior to review his decision to spend over £8617.97 without any discussion or oversite?

This was treated as an operational matter as referred to above. Installation of this fencing, given that the east and west fencing elevations already existed in this location, would not have been treated as a specific “project” as this was considered a small minor operational maintenance item (as such this was dealt with our reactive maintenance team). When set against the budget P & E control which sits at £2.5 million in 2019/20 it is clear that this work item was minor in scope and nature and was certainly not a “major project”. It would clearly be impractical and unnecessary to consult on every item of work that takes place on the Council’s estate and so officers take a view as to what matters will be of Member or wider interest. On this occasion the level of public interest has been underestimated, and with the benefit of hindsight, as we have already acknowledged, we should have undertaken consultation with Ward Members and Felpham Parish Council in relation to this fence. The experience obtained from this location will inform future judgment as to when and on what matters consultation should take place in the future.

 10.   Please provide all email and computer notes and correspondence or anything hand written that is / was connected in any way to the fence to and from any Councillor, cabinet member, officer or resident. Up to and past 19/09/2019

With your agreement, the results of searches for records will be provided separately as this is a time intensive process as noted above.

 11.   Was no consultation made because it was odds on that the public would have been against this action? Trying not to be cynical, I can see no other reason for no consultation!

No.

What action has been put in place to ensure this never occurs again?

See answer to Q9 above.

Very Importantly will this area still be open for use by groups and organizations to use as in the past like Fun on the Prom or is it the officers’ intention to maintain it as a closed private area and restrict community use?

The use of this area remains as it always has done and this has never changed and signage is erected to confirm this as a public area. From my perspective as the Officer that made the decision to install and the service that ordered and managed its installation it has never been any officers intention to maintain this area as a closed private area as stated above. It must be accepted that the area under discussion here is generally very small in size being long and narrow. Events can and do occur on this land and this would be arranged and managed via the Council’s events procedure. It would however be expected that customers’ use of the beach huts would not be unreasonably compromised by any such events and this aspect would be managed via the application procedure in order to reasonably avoid any conflict.  

 

As requested, I look forward to hearing from you in due course confirming your agreement to the short delay in providing you with the requested documentation.

 

Kind Regards

 

on behalf of

Nat Slade

Group Head of Technical Services

Response to request by Cllr Barker

 

Dear Ms Barker

 

Thank you for your Information Request received on 23 September 2019 via the Chief Executive’s Office.  We also note your complaint of 28 October 2019.  Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding, this was because your request involved seeking information from a number of service departments.  Our response is set out below:

 

REQUEST:

 

  1. An electronic copy of the Equalities Impact Survey carried out when plans and or decisions were made to enclose Western Greensward, Felpham with railings.  

                                                                                                                                             

  1. Electronic copies of Reports that:

 

  1. Identify the reasons for the installation of the railings and the total cost to install the railings around western Greensward and a breakdown of the cost of materials and labour etc.

 

  1. Explain the alternatives to railings that were considered with supporting evidence and why they were not the ‘favoured’ option. 

 

  1. Details of the procedures (or advise me as to where I can assess this information) which were in place to consult with residents of Felpham prior to the installation of railings around western Greensward,

 

  1.           Electronic results of the consultation with Felpham residents over the possibility of western Greensward being enclosed by railings, including the date of the consultation, details of the number that were asked to engage in the consultation and the actual numbers that did participate in the consultation

with identification as to how many of those asked to participate were Felpham residents.

 

  1. Electronical provision of; 

 

  1. the number of complaints Arun District Council and its Officers’ received about the installations of the railings around western Greensward and

 

  1. a summary of the responses made to complaints by Arun District Council and its Officers.

 

  1. Please detail the procedures (or advise me as to where I can assess this information) which Arun District Council and its Officers’ have in place to consult with all residents of Felpham Parish when it is proposed to make changes to:

 

  1. the environment

 

  1. open spaces and

 

iii.                 facilities within the Arun District (and especially Felpham Parish)

 

  1. Do all Officers’ of Arun District Council who have responsibilities for planning, open spaces, facilities and services receive Equalities awareness training?

 

  1. Please provide an electronic list of all Equalities and H&S assessments in the Arun District that have come under the jurisdiction of Arun District Council and that have been completed by the Council or on behalf of the Arun District Council as a consequence of changes to open spaces and facilities between January 2019 and May 2019.

 

RESPONSE:

 

1

A             Arun District Council does not hold this information therefore the information you have requested is not held for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

B            

  1. Arun District Council does not hold this information therefore the information you have requested is not held for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

  1. Arun District Council does not hold this information therefore the information you have requested is not held for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

  1. Arun District Council does not hold this information therefore the information you have requested is not held for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

  1. Arun District Council does not hold this information therefore the information you have requested is not held for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

E

i.,            The Planning department has records of complaints from two sources, there is no recording of telephone enquiries or informal complaints, and there has been no other contact on this matter.   

 

  1. A summary of responses made to complaints have included:

 

  • an apology for the lack of consultation
  • have explained that dog fouling was the reason for their installation
  • that there is no intention to exclude the public from the area
  • that positive feedback about the fence has also been received
  • that the fence appears to have resulted in a significant improvement re dog fouling
  • that targeted enforcement patrols in this area were undertaken without result prior to erection of the fence
  • that dog fouling education and enforcement patrols have continued in this area since fence installation
  • that the visibility of the gates as an access point has been enhanced by way of installing signage
  • the gate mechanism has been adjusted to ensure they can open both ways to make them easier to use
  • that they are considered to comply with the relevant code
  • that there is no intention to remove the fence.

 

2             Arun District Council does not hold this information therefore the information you have requested is not held for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

  1. Not Applicable
  2. Not Applicable

iii.            Not Applicable

 

  1. Arun District Council staff undertake equality and diversity training as part of their induction. All staff undertook training two years ago and refresher training for all staff is scheduled for 2020.

 

  1. Arun District Council does not hold this information, however, we can advise that in general during the tender process for play area/open space design and refurbishment, we request that companies provide designs that are inclusive and ensure that the open spaces, play areas, equipment and surfacing offer appropriate and suitable opportunities for access and use by those with disabilities, particularly in terms of those with impaired mobility and/or wheelchair users. The play areas are then assessed by an independent company during a Post Installation Inspection for safety purposes.  For more information on this process please contact Mr O Handson at oliver.handson@arun.gov.uk

 

                We appreciate we do not hold the specific information you are seeking. Therefore, if you have further questions about the background to this decision, we would suggest you contact Mr N Slade at nat.slade@arun.gov.uk

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS SENT TO ARUN DISTRICT COUNCIL RE: THE ERECTION OF METAL RAILINGS AROUND THE WESTERN GREENSWARD ON FELPHAM SEA FRONT

 

Dear Mr Wickens 

Thank you for your Information Request received on 11 April 2019.

REQUEST:

Freedom Of Information request with regard to the installation of railings around the Greensward on the Promenade, Felpham.

I would be grateful if you could advise/respond to the following with regard to the above:

  1. who made the decision to install these?
  2. when was that decision made?
  3. at which Committee(s) of Arun District Council was the issue discussed and could you advise as to which minute (s) refer to this and what resolutions were passed?
  4. were the District Councillors for Felpham consulted and/or advised? And if so, when?
  5. what publicity/promotion/notices were made regarding to this and where did these appear, and for how long and between what dates?
  6. what consultation was carried out and with whom?
  7. what is the total cost for the purchase, treatment, painting and installation of the railings?
  8. what was the purpose for which they were installed?
  9. will the public still be able to access and use the area behind the railings?
  10. similarly will events and activities still be able to be carried out other than those of beach hut owners?
  11. is there be a future proposal to install railings around the other Greensward?


RESPONSE:

  1. Mr P Broggi, Property Estates & Facilities Manager.
  2. The date of decision is not a matter of record as it was an operational decision, however the order for installation was placed with the Council’s in house works team on 20th March 2019.
  3. None, as the Installation of fencing is an operational matter dealt with by the responsible section (Property & Estates).  
  4. No.
  5. None.

 

  1. No formal consultation carried out for this operational matter. The possible installation of fencing was discussed with numerous dog fouling complainants as a means to controlling unsupervised dogs.
  2. The railings materials cost £8617.97 (this includes replacing the existing East and West aged bow top fencing and gates also). 

Installation was carried out by Arun District Council directly employed labour force and as such their time is not costed to each specific job completed and so we are unable to report on this aspect. 

  1. To control unsupervised dogs from accessing from the promenade and continually fouling the green space as the fouling problem was considered excessive on this small area of green space.
  2. Yes. This aspect has not changed.
  3. Yes, subject to normal events application procedures.
  4. Presently no plans are in place.

16th May 2019

REQUEST:

Mr N Lynn                                                                                              16th May 2019

Chief Executive

Arun District Council

Civic Centre

Maltravers Road

Littlehampton

BN17 5LF                         

 

Dear Mr Lynn,

Re: Railings installed at Western Greensward of Felpham Promenade, Felpham.

Further to this Council’s FOI request made to ADC, on the above and the response received to the questions raised, I have been requested to now write to you, on this issue.

Felpham Parish Council would now wish to formally request the removal of the railings from the above site for the following reasons:-

  1. the fact that no consultation was carried out with any individual, resident, Councillor, Cabinet Member or Felpham Parish Council.
  2. there continues to be dog fouling in the area.
  3. the fact that a significant amount of money was paid out of the public purse without any recourse, or tendering process, and as stated in the response received to the FOI request made, the authorisation by any other person within the District Council.
  4. the fact that there are probably more donated seats on the western greensward than people who had complained about dog fouling that triggered the installation of the railings.
  5. the numerous complaints received, many from beach hut owners on the western greensward, on the installation of the railings.
  6. the donated public seats are now behind railings, restricting access to these and impairing the sea views of those who sit on these.
  7. the Health & Safety issue in that the life-saving equipment sited behind the railings are not or would not be easily accessible in the case of emergency.
  8. the total lack of information and substantiation as to why the railings were installed.
  9. the level of monies spent could have been better utilised in improving the education and prosecution of dog foulers by a more robust scheme of monitoring and visits to ‘hot spot’ sites. It also demonstrates an abject failure of the District Council to enforce its own bye-laws.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Richard Wickens – Clerk to Felpham Parish Council

 

RESPONSE: 17th June 2019

Dear Mr Wickens,

Thank you for your email of the 16th May in respect of the above addressed to the Chief Executive.  He has asked me to respond on his behalf.  Apologies that you have not received an earlier response.

Whilst, this Council notes your Councils view regarding the railings and your request that the railing be removed I can confirm that it is not this Councils intention to remove the railings.  We have acknowledged that we could have done better in terms on our engagement to advise what we intended to do.  This is something we have reflected up for the future.  However, the railings are there now and we do not propose to remove them.  We will be looking to improve the signage to make it clearer where the gates.

Regards

Karl

e-mail sent the Leader of Arun District Council on 14th October 2019

 

Dear Councillor Dr James Walsh, Leader of Arun District Council,

Re-Railings installed on Western Greensward, Felpham Promenade.

 

Further to a resolution made at Felpham Parish Council I have been requested to write to you with regard to the above.

The Parish Council have written to officers the District Council on numerous occasions with regard to the above. The responses received thus far, whilst clarifying some of the issues raised, has not 

we believe answered all of the questions raised, with many responses “fudging around” what are considered to be important issues to both ourselves and our residents.

In this respect and not having received acceptable clarification from the District Council (despite several requests) on whether or not the railings and access and egress from the greensward are DDA compliant (either by confirmation of Accreditation or Certification confirming such compliance) we would now request that the railings be remove forthwith as they (until such time as the public and Parish Council are convinced that DDA compliance or accessibility has been given) do not conform with the relevant legislation and do not achieve what they were supposedly erected for in the first place i.e. the reduction/removal of dog faeces (dogs are still allowed within the railings).

On a further point, with regard to DDA, the Chief Executive has advised us that he believes that a DDA risk assessment is not required. As far as we are aware no disabled wheelchair persons have been requested to check the site to ascertain ease of access /egress or otherwise.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards and yours faithfully,

Richard Wickens – Clerk to Felpham Parish Council

 

 

 

Response received on 5th November 2019 by Felpham Parish Council to e-mail sent to the Leader of Arun District Council

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr Wickens,

Thank you for getting in touch. I have been to view the site myself, and I thought that a reply had been sent already, so apologies for the delay.

As you say, the fence has been the subject of recent correspondence between Felpham Parish Council and Arun’s Chief Executive so I shall confine my response to those matters you have raised as outstanding in your email of 14 October.

There is no requirement for testing, accreditation or certification of railings or gates. As previously advised, the Council is satisfied that the gates that allow public access to the greensward are compliant with the relevant code regarding accessibility (including by wheelchairs). 

The Council does not therefore agree with your statement that the fence does not conform with legislation, nor that the fence has not reduced fouling of the greensward. The observations made by officers, also reflected in correspondence received by the Council, is that the fencing has been effective at improving the fouling issue which it has been installed to address, as part of a package of measures which were detailed in earlier correspondence.

 

The position previously communicated to Felpham Parish Council that Arun does not intend to remove the fence, remains the case.

 

Kind regards,

 Dr James Walsh

Leader, Arun District Council